This afternoon, Stade Français lost in Stade de France vs Stade Toulousain… first defeat of the season for my favourite team… Say, my story is a tribute to the roots and rise of Toulousain (*) rugby. This text is the translation of a recent post (in plain French…) on the forum of Stade Français website, where I regularly share some Parisian memorabilia (my ID is “Frederic 1892”).
1903… the supremacy of Parisian teams Stade Français and Racing Club de France is contested as rugby is rising in South-West France… Bordeaux became champion in 1899 and managed to play the final every season since then (defeated by Stade Français in 1900 and 1901.. by RCF in 1902…)
Stade Français was lead by Scot Jack Muir… my picture is not the team who played the final as it was shot three months earlier in Paris, but most key-players are there : Henri Amand (future international cap n°1 in 1906), Monrouval brothers (both students at « Polythechnique »), Gaudermen, Beaurin… (future international players G.Jérome and E.Lesieur are however missing).
The organization of early 1900s French Championship is simple… the best of provincial teams of the year vs the best of Parisian teams of the year…
In the North, Racing Club de France had won the « Championship of Paris » and was ready to play the final… but was disqualified for having played with an English rugger with no registered licence… and was replaced by Stade Français (SF defeating Le Havre in play-offs)
In the South, surprise came from S.O.E.T (Stade Olympique des Etudiants Toulousains), which managed its way to the final defeating Stade Bordelais (Bordeaux) and F.C.Lyon. The first rugby final in Toulouse history… obviously not the last one…
French Rugby Union decided to play the final in Toulouse (possibly to promote rugby outside of Paris) on April 26th 1903. In these days, there was no stadium in Toulouse… games were played on « Prairies des Flitres », i.e. an open field along river Garonne inside the city… until 1907 when « Stade des Ponts Jumeaux » (« Twin bridges Stadium»…) would be built.
Stade Français winger Emile Lesieur recalls a final where the guys from Paris did show more speed and tactics than their oppponents…Final score16-8, i.e. 4 tries to 2 for Stade Français.
Stats (in French) and details are brought here by my friends from finalesrugby.com
Rugby trivia now ! let’s mention that one of the four Parisian tries was scored by Mexican three-quarter Fernando Ancona… I believe that this is the only time in French rugby that a Mexican athlete enters into official records (and what about world rugby ? I haven’t even checked if Mexico is affiliated to IRB…). Let’s also note that there were two Scot players (Muir et Forsyth) in Paris team... opening the way for Simon Taylor this season…
Stade Toulousain “as we know it” was created in 1907 in direct connection from SOET… to make a long story short, Stade Toulousain inherits from four clubs… As early as 1896 (the prehistory of French rugby…), "Olympique Toulousain" (a team from Toulouse HiSchool « lycée ») and "Stade Toulousain" (another team from the same Toulouse « lycée »…) merged to create the "Stade Olympien des Etudiants de Toulouse" (SOET), while later, in 1905, "Union Sportive de l'Ecole Vétérinaire" (Vet’School team) and "Sport Athlétique Toulousain" merged into USEVT "Veto-Sports"… SOET et USEVT merged in 1907 to create Stade Toulousain…
A bit complicated… but students only !
Among 1903 Toulouse young ruggers , some will become key-players of Stade Toulousain : Fabregat (hidden in the second row of SOET team picture, with an impressive beard…) then first captain of Stade Toulousain, Cuillé or Toto Pujol, eccentric and eclectic athlete who will be capped in 1906… under Stade Français colours and will end his sporting career in Wales... Here are the guys in 1909 with Stade Toulousain : another lost final !
Otherwise, the rise of Toulousain (*) rugby that year 1903 must have stimulated the guys from Bordeaux… they will then put a stong hold on French Championship… winning in 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1907… until Stade Français “come back” in 1908… the last one before modern times… 1998 actually...
Here are larger pics of SF, SOET or ST
(*) Toulousain ? Toulousan ? how do you say "Toulousain" in English ??
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